Maine man among 23 honored by Carnegie Heroes Fund

Posted June 24, 2010, at 5:38 a.m.

PITTSBURGH — A Maine man who saved the driver of a pickup truck that had crashed and overturned in a ditch on May 20, 2009, is among 23 people being honored with Carnegie medals for heroism.

Larry Brian Jordan, 48, of Poland, Maine, saved a 38-year-old man who was trapped in the burning pickup truck.

Pittsburgh steel baron Andrew Carnegie was inspired to start the fund in 1904 after hearing rescue stories from a mine disaster that killed 181 people. More than $32 million has been awarded to 9,372 people. Medalists, or their heirs, receive $6,000.

Recipients of Carnegie Heroes Fund medals, which were awarded Thursday:

—Timothy Lucas Gibson, 29, of Cape Coral, Fla., entered a burning home and was treated for smoke inhalation in saving a 1-year-old girl on Feb. 15, 2009.

—Edward Russell Nye, 28, and Michael Rangus, 57, both of Mechanicsville, Va., rescued a 37-year-old man from burning after his pickup truck crashed and caught fire on June 13, 2009. The driver died of serious burns 18 days later.

—Akasha Witchey Traver, 14, of Lexington, Va., suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation while rescuing a 1-year-old girl from her burning home and crib in Hot Springs, Va., on Jan. 15, 2009.

—Gary DeWayne Vinson Jr., 23, of Sylvester, Ga., died trying to save an 11-year-old boy from drowning in the Flint River in Albany, Ga., on Aug. 3, 2008. The boy struggled as Vinson tried to save him, and both drowned.

—Willard Van Fleet Jr., 36, of Factoryville, Pa., and Mark W. Keene, 55, of Dalton, Pa., died saving a 5-year-old girl and her mother from an icy pond in Dalton on Feb. 21, 2009. Van Fleet drowned after entering the water and handing the girl to her mother so they could be rescued by firefighters. Keene, Van Fleet’s stepfather, died of a heart attack after laying a ladder on the ice to help the girl and her mother.

—Edward Jay Fillingham, 75, of Henderson, N.Y., saved three people from drowning after their paddle boat overturned in Henderson Bay, Lake Ontario, in 41-degree water on April 17, 2009. Fillingham rowed a canoe 1,500 feet despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease and towed the victims to shore.

—Jared J. Champayne, 23, of Chicago, and Jeremy S. Cobb, 27, of Muskegon, Mich., saved a 41-year-old woman from drowning in Lake Michigan off the shore of Muskegon on Aug. 3, 2009. The men swam to the woman, who was pulled 200 feet from shore by a strong current, and braved 5-foot waves to rescue her.

—Chad J. Tolstedt, 33, and Paul M. Marks, 32, both of Monroe, Mich., saved a 54-year-old man by crawling through thick smoke to pull him from a burning two-story apartment on June 30, 2009.

—Keith E. Melton, 51, of Troy, Ill., and Terry L. Bullard, 39, of Worden, Ill., intervened when a gunman fatally wounded a pastor during a church service in Maryville, Ill., on March 8, 2009. The Rev. Frederick Winters, 45, was mortally wounded, but Melton and Bullard struggled with the gunman, who stabbed them before police arrived.

—Alexander G. Glass, 33, of Newport, N.C., saved sisters age 18 and 23 from drowning in the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Lookout, N.C., on May 25, 2009. A current pulled the sisters more than 250 feet from shore before Glass swam to them and towed them to safety.

—Branden L. Bonge, 28, of Valley Mills, Texas, and Cody L. Clemmons, 44, of Crawford, Texas, helped save three people from burning in a sport utility vehicle that crashed and overturned in Waco, Texas, on March 25, 2009. Bonge rescued sisters ages 9 and 10 while Clemmons helped rescue the driver, a 34-year-old woman.

—Nickolas J. Edwards, 19, of Salem, Ore., saved a 21-year-old woman from burning after her vehicle crashed and overturned on Oct. 17, 2009. Edwards kicked a hole through the vehicle’s windshield to reach her.

—Cameron T. Andersen, 23, of Mill Valley, Calif., and Gregory R. Thomson, 50, of Corte Madera, Calif., helped save a 16-year-old girl from drowning off Stinson Beach, Calif., when she was pulled from shore by a strong Pacific Ocean current on May 16, 2009.

—Donald Arthur Morrison, 43, of Dutch Valley, New Brunswick, rescued a 27-year-old pilot from a helicopter that crash-landed and burned in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, on May 24, 2008. The pilot was transporting Morrison and another passenger, who died in the flames, to a work site when she crashed. Morrison escaped from the cabin and pulled the pilot to safety despite his injuries.

—Donald George Gough, 60, of Summerland, British Columbia, helped save an 83-year-old man from drowning after his car went down an embankment and overturned in the Similkameen River and was swept upstream in swift currents in Manning Park, B.C., on May 23, 2007. Gough swam with a fire hose, which he tied around the driver, who was pulled to safety by others as Gough swam back to shore.

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